We worked with the Carbon Reduction Institute to quantify and offset our carbon footprint, and create an ongoing strategy for carbon neutrality. We conducted both an operational review (day-to-day running of the business) and a life cycle analysis of our products to get a complete picture of Seljak Brand’s impact, from when we first started Seljak Brand in 2016 until now.
Last financial year we emitted 7.12 tonnes of CO2e (tCO2e) from an operational perspective and 3.44 tCO2e based on blankets manufactured and sold.
How does recycled wool compare to new wool?
Using recycled materials in the creation of new products does indeed make a big difference to carbon footprint. Because we work with recycled materials, our product footprint was very low. In fact, we got Carbon Reduction Institute to measure exactly what the difference is when making a blanket from new wool vs recycled wool.
Using recycled wool saves 13 times the carbon emissions of new wool.
A new wool blanket (with a weight of 1kg) has a carbon footprint of 45.5 kilograms of CO2 emissions (kgCO2-e). A recycled wool blanket of the same size (which is the equivalent of a Seljak Brand blanket) has a carbon footprint of 3.4kgCO2-e.^
The carbon report gives us great encouragement to continue to create beautiful and useful products made from waste and to encourage others to make products with recycled materials too!
What offsetting project are we contributing to?
Once our carbon footprint was measured, the next step was choosing how to offset our emissions. We opted to offset through conservation projects, for example conserving old growth forests which sequester carbon efficiently and effectively, which is one of the most immediately impactful ways to offset your carbon footprint.
Seljak Brand is offsetting through the Rimba Raya project in Indonesia, which conserves 65,000 hectares of peat swamp forest in Central Kalimantan in Borneo. Originally slated for a palm oil plantation, Rimba Raya has avoided more than 130 million tonnes of carbon emissions, while creating meaningful job opportunities for the communities living in the area, and protecting the highly endangered orangutan population.
As well as offsetting last financial year’s carbon footprint, we offset for the previous years we’ve been in business. This is equivalent to taking 10 cars off the road for one year.
But is carbon offsetting really helping global warming?
Offsetting emissions while continuing business-as-usual is NOT going to respond adequately to the climate crisis. What is needed is a system-wide reduction of emissions drastically and quickly. That's why we don't think of going carbon neutral as the end game. Going carbon neutral is an important step businesses can take in understanding their carbon footprint in numbers, offsetting the current level emissions with carbon negative projects, and ultimately creating a game plan to reduce them further. The goal is to reach actual zero not net zero emissions. Is this possible? Well, we’re one of many businesses taking this step, and if enough of us do so, it’ll put pressure on large companies and heavy emitters to do the same and accelerate demand for carbon-free products, processes and technology. Operating low and zero carbon businesses is a step in the transition to a more sustainable and just world.
We’re going to continue to track our carbon impact on an annual basis and offset appropriately. More importantly, given reduction is better than offsetting, we will continue to work only with majority recycled materials as we can see huge carbon reduction benefits with this strategy, reduce our operational emissions (like air travel) and look to work with other partners that practice emissions reduction too. We’re committed to creating low-carbon products and growing the low-carbon community!
The carbon audit from Carbon Reduction Institute follows the standards outlined by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (1), in addition to the international standard ISO 14064.1 (2).
^Resource use and greenhouse gas emissions from three wool production regions in Australia. Wiedemann, S.G., et al. 112, s.l. : Journal of Cleaner Production, 2016
^Barber, Andrew and Pellow, Glenys. LCA: New Zealand Merino Wool Total Energy Usage. 2006
^Cardoso, Albino Andre Moreira. Life Cycle Assessment of Two textile Products. 2013
Note: Seljak Brand was certified by the Carbon Reduction Institute from 2021 to 2023. We decided to opt out of carbon neutral programs as it became clear some such programs distract from genuine efforts to reduce emissions. Instead, we are directing those funds into regenerative textiles research and development.